Noob Reviews: Black Summer (Season 01)
Updated: Jan 15
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included to help explain certain points.
Season 01 is currently available to view on Netflix.
What is Black Summer?
Black Summer is a zombie apocalypse story told from the various perspectives of strangers who band together as the zombie infection begins to spread across America. With many not knowing one another until now, they must rely on complete strangers for not only their day to day survival but in many cases to help them get back to their families and loved ones.
The series has also been described as a prequel to the Z Nation series which was created by the same publisher.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Season 01 | Official Trailer -
When did it come out?
Black Summer was first aired on Netflix on April 11th 2019.
How many episodes are there?
There are currently eight episodes available for season one and a second season has been given the go ahead. Currently the only time frame for season two airing is ‘sometime in 2020.’
Can you give us an example of some story lines?
There are many story lines within Black Summer with the core one for all been to survive. Whether it be the zombie horde, threat of infection or other undesirable and hostile human elements, survival is always the main drive. However, in addition to survival you also have several survivors (Sun, William, Rose and Barbara) trying to return to their families and loved ones.
Spears is also a mysterious figure who we meet early on in the series. Having escaped from military police custody (and assuming the name of the man he kills to do so) this rogue like survivor is highly sought after for sensitive material he has stolen from the military. So sensitive and so important to them, even in the middle of the zombie apocalypse they are willing to spare not expense to find him.
Who is behind Black Summer?
Black Summer was created by Karl Schaefer, John Hyams and produced by The Asylum. The Asylum are better known as an independent American film company who were behind such other television series as Z Nation and films such as Sharknado.
Who are some of the actors and actresses in the series?
Jaime King - Jamie is a model turned actress who has been in films such as Bitch, Escape Plan (various) and also was the voice actress for Aurra Sing in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the animated television series).
Justin Chu Cary - Justin has appeared in many television shows since 2009 such as NCIS, The Ringer, Lucifer and was the voice actor of Dr Kanou in the animated series Tokyo Ghoul. He has also appeared in the films Blindspotting, Naomi, Midnight Ride, Straight Talk: The Truth About Teen Pregnancy and The Other Way Round which are all short films.
Sal Velez Jr. - Sal has previously appeared in The Guest House and will also be appearing in a 2020 film called The Way Back. He is well-known for his work in the Mayans M.C. series too which was based on the activities of the Mayan motorcycle club after Jax Teller’s death in Sons of Anarchy.
Ty Olsson - I would just like to also do a shoutout to Ty Olsson aka Benny Lafitte from Supernatural (the vampire who helps Dean escape purgatory). He is only in Black Summer for a very short time but I loved his work in Supernatural and felt he would have brought a strong and relatable character to the series. Unfortunately the creators thought otherwise.
How is the series so far?
To sum up the series in one word I would say disappointing. Don’t worry I will go into more specifics as not to leave it as open-ended as it sounds but I personally found Black Summer to be disappointing, generic and boring.
Although Black Summer attempts to take on the story from the perspective of the survivors, the story is written poorly with there been little to no connection or emotional investment with the characters which left me uninterested in what happened to them. I felt that there was no real character development, no real connections built between the majority of the characters and many a time actions (and reactions) to various situations were easy to predict. Add into this some very wooden acting (emotionless, awkward and unconvincing) and very little dialogue in parts; and it made the majority of characters forgettable.
The length of the episodes for season one were also something that I felt were rushed at times and unnecessarily short. There is no ‘standard’ length of an episode, the length varies between twenty minutes long up to forty-five minutes long. A lot of the time the shorter episodes are the episodes that could have done with more depth, more explanation and attention. The longer episodes on the flip side are sometimes unnecessarily long with a lot of padded content that has no real impact on the events or stories in general. With a more stable and balanced format for the episodes, Black Summer could have actually begun to redeem itself but especially for episodes six to eight, it was almost as if the creators had stopped trying. In all honesty I did too and switched the channel to watch other things, only going back the day after and forcing myself to watch the last three episodes to ensure I saw the whole series before reviewing it.
I honestly believe that the concept of Black Summer was a good one, it could have worked under different circumstances and with a bit more tweaking and care. However, the zombies are almost identical to those found in 28 Days Later or 28 Weeks Later (they are fast movers who are able to run as opposed to shambling and slow, have basic problem solving kills and are agile). The turning of human faction against human faction can be taken from any zombie film or series (The Walking Dead / Z Nation). And as I said parts of the episodes were predictable. There is nothing unique or even inspired, it all seems to be a carbon copy of many other programs and films wrapped in slightly different packaging.
What overall rating would you give Black Summer?
Unfortunately Black Summer gets a 1 out of 5 bananas from me on this one. At the moment if season two does come out, I might watch a few episodes to see if it has improved, but I will not get my hopes up.
Thank you very much for checking out the review and if you are interested in Black Summer and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.